The word “loss” is pretty much always associated with death. It is the biggest and most traumatic, but there are many other losses we have to adjust to in life. Some are much harder than others, but the process of grief is similar. Sadness or disappointment, maybe anger or depression, then finally acceptance. I’ve said it here before, and in my book, but it’s really important to repeat. Every change in life involves loss.. of the way it used to be… of the person we used to have in our lives. We lose our youth, health, relationships, pets, jobs, homes, bank accounts, even our faith, even our dreams. Everybody’s circumstance is different.
Common reactions to loss are predictable, but the list of possibilities is long. There is no right or wrong way to feel, nor is there a time limit for feeling it. I’m guilty of keeping thoughts to myself that I’m afraid will shock or upset someone, and really have to know them pretty well before revealing what I consider the “ugly” stuff. Feels more like confessing by that time, and even that is sometimes scary. But I know that holding on to strong emotions for a long time makes them fester, prolonging the upset. Confusing and conflicting emotions just keep piling up, and giving them voice helps release them. To move on, we really have to fess up to them.
Whatever the loss, there’ll be emotion: anger, fear, relief or depression. You could feel numb, crazy, or confused. But remembering that we don’t choose our emotions — they choose us — makes it easier to stop hiding them, from ourselves and from everyone around us.
Whatever the loss you are experiencing now or in the past, remember to be kind to yourself. Seek comfort, cry often, and wait. You won’t always feel like this.